After thoroughly examining your assignment, now it's time to look for some initial background research on your topic. View the two topic pages below in the Credo Database to learn more about the Gender and Gender Identity.
Think about who might be involved. We know you're focused on gender, so there's male and female, but you might also consider other groups: transgender, for example. Or you could consider different ages - for example, what expectations does society place on different genders at different age(s) - from birth to death. Are there further factors based on race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status (wealth)? What aspects are important to your paper?
Consider what factors are involve in your topic. Read some background information or a summary to learn more about your topic and then make a list of relevant factors. For example, in the case of gender, you'll need to look into biological and environmental factors that influence gender. If you're looking at gender communication, you'll need to consider what type of communication / relationship is involved - are you considering communication in the workplace, within a marriage or romantic relationship, parents and children, etc. What specifically are you examining?
The background reading can also provide you with keywords, specialized vocabulary, and definitions, which will be useful for future searches.
What time period is involved? Are you considering the present day, or are you going back in history to look at a time period long ago. Be sure you know what dates and times are involved in your topic because that will affect how you write about them. Your topic may have specific dates associated with it or it may be more general. For instance, maybe we're looking at the post-September 11th world (2001 to present) or perhaps you're looking at the women's movement of the 1970s/80s. For most gender topics, you probably want current, present day, but consider that some topics are changing rapidly, such as transgender issues, where you'll want to pay close attention to the dates that articles and books were published.
Sometimes places or geography are important to your topic. Are you considering gender issues in the United States or another country? The situation can be quite different in some countries than it is here.
This is a really important one. Why do people care about this topic? Why is gender important or controversial? What's at stake, or why did it happen / is it happening? For instance, why is the concept of gender controversial? Why is it important that men and women communicate well in the workplace?